Latest on the Sabres and Red Wings – August 22, 2016
Options for the Buffalo Sabres after losing out in the Jimmy Vesey sweepstakes and an update on Tomas Tatar.
THE BUFFALO NEWS: Mike Harrington believes few came off well during the recent Jimmy Vesey sweepstakes, particularly Vesey, his agents and the teams that attempted to woo the youngster. With the Buffalo Sabres losing out on retaining the youngster, Harrington suggests they look at unrestricted free agent winger Jiri Hudler, who had 46 points last season and a career-high 76 in 2014-15. A younger, cheaper option would be Brandon Pirri, who had 29 points in 61 games last season and scored 22 goals in 2014-15.
He also speculates this will bring an end to the Evander Kane trade talk, noting the Vancouver Canucks were the only club that seemed to remotely have any interest in the troubled winger.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sabres have just over $8 million in cap room if they wish to pursue a free-agent forward. Hudler earned $4 million per season on his last contract but could probably be had for around $3 million per on a short-term deal. Pirri would be even more affordable. Given Kane’s off-ice issues, $5.25 million annual cap hit through 2017-18 and injury history, I doubt there’s a market for him now.
MLIVE.COM: In a profile Detroit Red Wings forward Tomas Tatar, Ansar Khan suggests the 25-year-old remains “one of the team’s most viable trading chips in its pursuit for a top-three defenseman. But it would be sacrificing a good chunk of offense.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Khan points out Tatar is in his contract year and could seek a deal similar to teammate Gustav Nyquist, who’s earning an annual cap hit of $4.75 million through 2018-19. He’s slated to become a restricted free agent and holds arbitration rights.
GM Ken Holland is reportedly still seeking that top-three blueliner, which could carry on into the upcoming season. Much will depend upon Tatar’s performance. If he plays well, it’ll boost his trade value but it could also make Holland reluctant to move the winger.